Fat Monroe

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Directed by: Andrew Garrison 1990/1991 Running Time: 14:00 Color

In this narrative film, Ned Beatty plays the title role of Fat Monroe, a gruff, unshaven mountain man with the gift of gab and a merciless sense of humor. He offers a ride in his pick-up truck to nine-year-old Wilgus Collier (played by William Johnson in his film debut). Most of the film is a battle of wits between the overwhelming Monroe, who seems to twist everything the boy says, and the steadfast Wilgus, who stands up to Monroe's devilment. By the end of his ride, Wilgus's notion of truth and trust in the adult world is changed forever. As critic Linda Dubler writes, "There's something of a rite of passage in Wilgus's ride, something too about the cruelties of adults and the joys of storymaking." Fat Monroe is based on a short story by Gurney Norman from his collection Kinfolks. The video version of Fat Monroe comes with a fifteen minute interview with this important Kentucky writer in which he discusses his literary influences and the importance of place in his writing.


"Hilarious, not-to-be-missed...a pint-sized classic." -Vincent Canby, The New York Times

"A deceptively simple story....Show it, however, to a class of fourth graders or even high school students and you will be made aware that it has an insightful meaning if your adult eyes and mind haven't made that occur to you already. Recommended for schools, libraries, television and whatever." -Rohanna Lee, Sightlines

"Superbly acted and beautifully photographed....Elementary age viewers will identify with Wilgus' discomfort at adult teasing; older viewers will appreciate the rite of passage as Wilgus gets a glimpse into the strange world of adulthood. Literature classes will be able to use this presentation as a prime example of the short story form. Viewers of all ages will enjoy this quality production." -Shelly Glantz, Arlington (Massachusetts) High School, in School Library Journal

"Sketches a peculiarly down-home character in subtle and revealing shades....both a joy to watch and a folksy corrective to redneck cliches." -Atlanta Journal and Constitution

"A blueprint for what a short dramatic film should be. It's focused, direct, and perfectly accurate in its details." -Linda Dubler, Afterimage

Screenings & Festivals

New York Film Festival

Atlanta Film

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